The University confirmed a document reading “TICK TOCK” was left at the scene of the Sept. 7 hate crime at the Homer statue, when an individual hung a noose around the statue. A number of items left at the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers have also been identified as part of a philanthropic organization with no links to white supremacy. This update came in a community-wide email sent Thursday morning to the University community by Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis and Timothy Longo, associate vice president for safety and security and chief of police.
While the University Police Department previously confirmed items were found at the statue, the documents were being evaluated to determine if there was any relation to the crime and had not been released to the public. Alongside the document, a flier was recovered advertising a student-led social event that had already transpired and had no connection to the crime.
“Investigators are still seeking to determine the relevance and relationship between that document and the placement of the noose, as well as the potential significance of the phrase on the document,” Davis and Longo said.
A number of items were left at the Memorial last weekend, including a flag depicting an owl and a check for $888.88. Per the email, community members speculated that the flag represented a white supremacist organization and that the check was intended to intimidate students of color.
However, UPD and the Federal Bureau of Investigation determined that the items had been left by an alumnus of the University who is also a member of a Wise Investment Philanthropy, a micro-philanthropic organization which occasionally completes random acts of kindness for students. The Memorial was chosen as the site for the act of philanthropy as a sign of respect — there were no ties to white supremacist organizations and the events, while “bizarre,” were not racially motivated.
Davis and Longo also emphasized that the vandalism of the Office of African American Affairs was not racially motivated and unrelated to the hate crime. The individual responsible has been apprehended and charged, as outlined in an update from Longo and Interim OAAA Dean Michael Mason last week.
As the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the UPD investigate the hate crime at the Homer Statue, UPD has offered a $2,000 reward for any individual who has information helpful in solving the crime. UPD has also released photos of the suspect and the suspect’s vehicle.
In the weeks since the hate crime, many students have been organizing to demand a stronger response from the University. Black students have held multiple protests throughout Grounds this week and released a list of demands in an open letter last Friday.
“The University administration not only fails to keep us safe, but also actively impedes our ability to take measures to protect ourselves by withholding crucial information from our community,” the letter reads.
Young Democratic Socialists of America at U.Va. also organized a protest to demand a stronger response from the University, and the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American Affairs and OAAA held a teach-in to offer a safe space for students to discuss and share reactions to the crime last week.